The maker wrote carefully, making sure each and every letter was impossible to confuse for anything other than what it was. He had weighed and measured the words on a semantic scale so fine it could possibly read minds if it wanted to, and it would be a shame if anything got lost due do an accidental smudge or ambiguity. For a long while, he sculpted the letters, until finally form and content became as one. The words were:
You will soon have your god, and you will make it with your own hands.
Thus, the maker set his final creation in motion.
He looked at himself in the mirror. It always surprised him, the small differences between how he thought of himself and what he saw in his reflection. There was always something new, some unexpected change that defied expectations. He thought about the nature of change and aging for a while, then remembered what he was looking for, and adjusted his tie. When even did he become someone who went to things where you wore ties?
The book was huge. Humongous. Ginormous. Big. Big McLargeHuge. Lorge. If all the words for “gigantic in size” were to suddenly disappear, this book would by its very physical presence both invent and define all the new precepts needed to fill the void. It was, in all senses of the word, huge.
And he had to have read it by tomorrow. All of it. In its entirety. From page one to that imaginary last page way off in the unknowable distance.
He climbed a ladder in order to read the title. The Phenomenology of Spirit.
It was past time to go. If she left right now, she would only be marginally late, the kind of late that could be excused by traffic or weather. But only if she moved now, right this instance.
Then, another reply popped up, and another, and another. Some ridiculously big twitter account had retweeted that one stupid tweet from last year, and it made all the rounds. Ping. Another retweet. Ping. Another fav. Ping ping ping. Replies mentions replies.
She found that she could not move. It was all too much. Too many pings, too many replies. Buzz buzz buzz.
She looked at it closely, from all angles. It didn’t look like a key, and it didn’t seem to have any particular shape she could recognize. Yet when she pressed it against the keypad, the door opened. She tried it twice, thrice, many times, to make sure the thing was what it claimed to be. The door opened each time, as if by a miracle.
If the price of having a new home of her own was getting used to this strange key contraption, she could accept that.
Suddenly, he realized. It snuck up on him, like ideas and insights usually do: he actually enjoyed being stuck in traffic. Especially when he didn’t really need to be anywhere in particular at a particular time. He liked belonging. He could see each and every other driver hindered along their particular journeys from A to B, and he shared their predicament. No one was getting anywhere fast, and so was he.
It was a strange realization, and he did not quite know what to do with it.
The message hovered in the inbox. It was at once both good and bad. Good, in that everything was proceeding according to plan. Bad, in that everything was proceeding according to plan. The plan meant she would be gone for a while, but it also meant she would be back. An extra semester would mean she’d finish her masters; but it was a semester at a far-away university. She would be gone. And back again.
The message hovered. Good news, bad news. Sometimes, it is hard to tell the difference.